Perimenopausal Back Pain

What You Need to Know About Perimenopausal Back Pain

Experiencing back pain as you navigate through perimenopause is not uncommon. This transitional phase before menopause signifies a shift in your hormones and often brings about a number of physical changes. As your body adapts to these hormonal fluctuations, it’s not unusual to feel new aches and pains. And (unlucky for us) back pain is a frequent site for this discomfort.

neck pain

Understanding the connection between your menopausal status and musculoskeletal pain can really help you handle these symptoms better. The mix of hormonal shifts and the effects of aging can up your chances of dealing with back pain during this phase. Researchers have looked into the link between musculoskeletal pain and menopause, underscoring the importance of awareness and the right strategies to manage it.

When it comes to easing back pain during perimenopause, your approach might range from simple lifestyle tweaks to medical solutions. Being proactive, gathering information, and seeking support can make a big difference, and your healthcare provider can give you personalized guidance. Staying informed about the changes your body is going through will empower you to tackle the challenges of perimenopause with confidence and comfort. And so to help you out, we’re doing a deep dive into perimenopausal back pain

Contributing Factors for Perimenopausal Back Pain

There are a number of different factors that contribute to perimenopausal back pain, we’re going to start with the most common:

Hormone Changes

The fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone during the perimenopausal phase significantly affects your body. Lower levels of estrogen may contribute to the weakening of the muscles and ligaments supporting your spine, leading to increased back pain.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that happens when the tissues from the uterus start growing outside the womb. Some common symptoms to watch out for include:

  1. Painful menstrual cycles with severe pelvic and lower abdominal discomfort.
  2. Discomfort in the genital area.
  3. Pelvic and lower back pain, especially during your period.

Bone Density

Estrogen plays a critical role in maintaining bone density. As you age and estrogen levels decrease, the risk of osteoporosis rises, which can lead to back pain as weakened bones are more susceptible to fractures and deformities. For some women, this can lead to degeneration of their vertebral discs and a loosening of ligaments that hold the vertebra in place. The result of this can be acute pain that can radiate into your legs making it almost impossible to walk, drive a car or sit 

BMI / Weight Gain

During perimenopause, it’s pretty common to notice some weight gain, which can bump up your BMI (Body Mass Index). Carrying extra weight can put added stress on your back muscles and joints, which might make any existing pain in your lower back feel more intense.

Inflammation

With perimenopausal hormones shift, increased stress or poor dietary decisions, your body is more susceptible to inflammation, which can bring a lot of pain and discomfort and make back pain even worse.

Muscle Strain and Tension

Perimenopause can also lead to increased muscle tension. Stress and hormonal changes may cause your muscles to tighten and spasm, contributing to ongoing back discomfort.

Degenerative Arthritis

Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, often affects aging adults. Changes in your hormonal balance during perimenopause can accelerate joint wear, leading to back pain associated with arthritis.

Medical Consultation and Diagnosis

physiotherapy for back pain

When you’re navigating through perimenopausal changes, understanding when to seek medical advice and what diagnostic procedures to expect can make a significant difference in managing your back pain.

When to See a Doctor

If you’re experiencing persistent back pain during perimenopause, it’s important to consult with your doctor to rule out other causes. Especially if your pain is severe, interrupts your daily activities, or is accompanied by other symptoms like numbness or tingling, professional medical advice is crucial. The Mayo Clinic suggests seeking a medical evaluation to obtain accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatments. ACUTE PAIN!!

Diagnostic Procedures

During the consultation, your doctor may use a variety of diagnostic tools to understand the cause of your back pain:

  • Physical Examination: Expect a thorough examination with special attention to your back’s structure and function.
  • Medical History Discussion: Be prepared to discuss the details of your menstrual cycle changes, other perimenopausal symptoms, and any family medical history.
  • Imaging Tests: An ultrasound or X-ray might be ordered to check for any structural issues like fractures or arthritis that may be contributing to your pain.
  • Blood Tests: These can help rule out other conditions, thereby confirming the hormonal changes characteristic of perimenopause.

Depending on the findings, your doctor may prescribe medication to alleviate pain or recommend other treatments such as physical therapy, massage therapy, or acupuncture. It’s important to have a clear and open dialogue about your symptoms to ensure the best possible care.

How To Ease Back Pain in Perimenopause

Perimenopausal back pain can be common, but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it. To alleviate discomfort, it’s important to consider various lifestyle adjustments and remedies focused on reducing inflammation and improving overall back health.

Don’t Slouch

Maintaining good posture is crucial for preventing and reducing back pain. Ensure that you’re sitting with your back straight and shoulders back, and make use of ergonomic furniture that supports your spine.

good posture

Change Your Sleep Position

Altering your sleep position can significantly affect back pain. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees or on your back with a pillow under your knees to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Stretch

Incorporate stretching into your daily routine to help relieve tight muscles and improve flexibility. Focus on gentle stretches for your back, hamstrings, and hip flexors.

Low Impact Exercises

Engage in low impact exercises like swimming, walking, or cycling to strengthen your back without adding stress to your joints. This can improve your quality of life by reducing pain.

Anti-inflammatory Diet

Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, polyphenols, and gut healthy bacteria. This can help manage perimenopausal back pain by reducing inflammation in your body. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

A healthy weight reduces the strain on your back. Combine regular exercise with a balanced diet to manage your weight effectively.

Manage Stress

High stress levels can aggravate back pain. Utilize relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to support your mental health and reduce tension in your back muscles.

Massage and Physiotherapy

Consider regular massage and physiotherapy sessions. They can help relax tight muscles, increase flexibility, and provide relief from pain.

Medication

If lifestyle changes are not enough, certain medications can be effective. Always consult with your healthcare provider for the best options for your situation.

Supplements

Supplements like magnesium or omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce muscle pain and inflammation. Ensure you discuss any new supplements with a healthcare provider to determine the right choice for you.

By focusing on these specific actionable steps, you can manage perimenopausal back pain and enhance your comfort during this stage of life. Remember, small changes can make a significant impact on your overall well-being.

Conclusion

Musculoskeletal discomfort is a common issue during perimenopause. Your quality of life can be impacted, but there are ways to mitigate these symptoms.

Should pain persist or worsen, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance and additional treatment options. Your comfort and well-being are important, and small changes can lead to significant improvements.